Sometimes something as simple as skipping a wash can knot up your
hair like ropes on a sail. It’s not the greatest situation, especially
if you want that healthy sheen. Knots can drag you down, but there are
plenty of ways to defeat these hairy foes. With a little patience and a
bit of time, detagling those nasty hair knots is as easy as ABC.
- APPLY conditioner and lots of it to de-knot. There
are directions on the back of every conditioner bottle, but the longer
your hair, the more you need. Work the conditioner from root to tip,
making sure it’s evenly coated. If your hair is particularly curly or
coily, try leaving it on for an extra couple of minutes.
- Detangle BEFORE you get into the shower. This
little trick of the trade makes it easier to work through both a shampoo
and a conditioner. What’s more, you can find the small knots beforehand
so you’ll spend less time de-knotting your hair in the shower by
working on any problem spots.
- COMB thoroughly. Once you’re out of the shower, apply a leave-in conditioner or whatever product you prefer and use a medium or wide tooth comb. Spend time working your way through your hair while it’s still wet, again working on possible problem spots that may appear.
There are plenty of other options to prevent knots. Placing hair in
braids or a silk scarf before bed will prevent friction and tangles. You
can also use detangling in-shower products and conditioning treatments.
If you’re taking all precautions, you should succeed in preventing bad
That being said, sometimes all the preventative measures in the world
won’t stop knots from forming. It’s a sad truth, but in this case
there’s no time for tears. Literally, the longer you wait, the worse a
knot gets. The sooner you untangle the beast, the better. Here are some
steps to help you in the battle against knots.
- Find the tangle or tangles. Work your fingers through your hair, pinpointing the problem area.
- Hold the knot in question with one hand. You should
get a feel for the knot to better de-knot, and if possible, what it
looks like. The more you know about how it’s knotted and where, the
better chance of success with your hair.
- Comb your fingers through the knot as much as
possible while holding the knot. If you can loosen hair from it, try to
pull it out of the knot without breaking the strands of hair.
Tip: If you cannot loosen the knot whatsoever or the knot is fairly large, wet your hair before proceeding to step 4.
- Apply hair conditioner, hand lotion, warm olive
oil, or a special detangler product to de-knot. All have been proven to
work towards detangling anything from a minor snarl to a massive rats
- Finger comb the product through your hair and let the conditioning item sit for a few minutes.
- Gently comb your hair with a medium or wide tooth
comb. Avoid pulling your hair and roughly working the comb through your
hair. This can lead to breakage and more knots in the future.
The Worst Knots
If it seems not even the best TLC is cutting it, you may have to cut
that knot out of your life. But don’t de-knot it yourself, especially if
it’s is toward the back of your head. Sometimes the knot is so severe
that it’s time to take a trip to the hair salon. A stylist should have
the professional know-how to cure whatever hair disaster ails you. And
if there is no cure, they have the talent to create the perfect, albeit
somewhat shorter style just for you.
Do you have any secrets for staying virtually knot-free or getting the knots out of your curls?
I do a little pre-shower finger detangling using coconut oil before hopping in the shower to do the real work. Once in the shower I wet my hair and then smoosh in ALL the conditioner. All. The. Conditioner. Like half a bottle (just kidding, so serious). I run my head back under the water stream to help activate the slip. I then let it marinate while I shower. Finally, I gently finger detangle under the shower stream with my fingers and follow up with my bass wooden brush for any trouble spots. Your 10 digits, a super slippery conditioner (Aussie moist) and a powerful shower stream is the key to a successful detangling session.
This article was originally published in June 2012 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.